Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Makes you think

Today at school the 10th graders had a lyceum on internet safety. This was probably way more interesting to me than it was them, but they are so much more savvy than us oldtimers. Some of the things they learned about: sexting (sending sexually explicit texts OR nude photos of yourself to someone), chat rooms, the large amount of sexual predators out there, how all these sites are public information, and cyber-bullying.
Who would have thought way back in 1994 when I was a senior in high school that all of these terms would be common language like it is today? This stuff isn't new to Thad. He gets to deal with this kind of yucky stuff all the time. People are being victimized daily by this stuff. It is not uncommon to hear stories about how girls will send a sexy photo of themselves to someone. Pretty soon many, many kids have it. What the kids don't realize is that if they forward it on, they are disseminating child pornography (if they are over 18 even by one day). It's very tricky stuff. Choosing to have the attitude "my kid would never do that" is not an option. It can happen to anyone at anytime.
This afternoon, I was showing my students CNN Student news. It's a 10 minutes CNN news show for kids (duh). Today of all days, there was a feature on how some ladies are suing their former employer for being fired over bashing their bosses on MySpace. They felt that their freedom of speech was violated, and that they were having a private discussion online. FYI: Nothing posted on the internet is private information. It is public...all of it. Anyway posting anything online is fair game for the world to see. Young adults from this generation haven't grasped that concept, because, heck, they have always lived in a techie world. Us old people have not. Once upon a time, young girls wrote in a thing called a diary. Now that was private...or so we hoped! We used to pick up the family telephone to call our friends or boys we liked. We sent letters to family and friends who lived far away.
Times have changed. I have a ways to go before I will feel really educated on all this stuff. I do feel that as a parent, it's my duty to try to stay as on top of this stuff as possible.

Now the other part of my day was also interesting. At the concert the other night, I chipped my back molar. Today I went in to get it looked at. I was ready to set up a date to get a crown, pay $1000 or so on the procedure, and be on with my day. Not so fast. It seems that my chipped tooth is likely caused by my jaw problems. I wear a mouthguard at night. I grind and clench my teeth. My poor teeth are getting tired, thus the 1/4 size of tooth that broke off.
After many photos of my teeth, jaw impressions, teeth impressions, and a partridge in a pear tree, I will likely be told the end of June that I need........braces. UGH.
I wore a back brace for three years. I have served my time with a 'brace.' God blessed me with pretty straight teeth. So let's up the cost several thousand dollars, schedule many more appointments, and hope that I get made fun of as much as I teased Thad. Karma is a stinker huh!?

And to think I was thisclose to booking a trip to Disney World this fall. I still might because maybe I won't need braces. But AJ, maybe you should give me Jimmy's email address to see if he wants to put the Staffords up!


Ben said...

Hi Bonnie,

The privacy issue is interesting, and actually evolving. Traditionally, we've looked at privacy from the perspective of holding back information, and we've built protections against intrusions into that space.

With the current Internet generation, however, there is the notion that privacy should be more about control of information, including the authorized use of information. So, for example, if I post information to Facebook and have limited access to "friends only" and one of those friends takes that information outside of that context, then in the modern age there could be a breach of privacy.

This is an active topic of discussion within the American Bar Association, and something we anticipate seeing legislation around in the near future.

BTW, the child porn angle is also interesting. Kids have been messing around and having sex for hundreds of years. Now they act indiscriminately in front of a digital camera and the law gets bent out of shape. This is partly a case of the law needing to catch up to modern technology, and part of it is reflective of the nature of our society. Which is not to down-play the myriad creeps out there, but to say that "kids will be kids" and that to apply code like child porn laws to adolescent behavior is, well, somewhat misguided.

-ben t.

TBRKO said...

It is, but Thad and I have discussed this one at length, and he has stressed that the laws were put into place b/c of the bad people out there. It just happens to apply to everyone--which it has to.
It is a bit troubling to me that in the case of kids making poor choices (i.e. taking pics and sending them)is inadvertently putting others in a bad spot. Regardless of whether or not we think we post things "to friends only," our friends can tag us in photos, people can copy and paste photos of us to use, etc.
I told my students today that what we also need to do is work on all the personal issues at hand when kids think this is acceptable behavior to be doing.
We were SOOOO modest back in the day, but at the time, I didn't think so.
I anticipate a Supreme Court ruling on this stuff someday. It will be interesting, because like most things, it's a gray area.

Dr. J said...

Wow that made me feel old :P

There are some jurisdictions that are changing their sex crimes laws to factor in this "sexting" phenom. Some of those kids could have to register as sex offenders which is ridiculous.

ABCDH said...

This is all so sad to me, really. I mean, teenagers making poor choices and then not being able to move on from their mistakes because it's forever on the web.
The child predator thing is what gets me the most though. There are some real disgusting pervs out there.

TBRKO said...

AJ you are right. On one hand I think that kids today are so irresponsible with themselves, but if I put the shoe on the other foot, that could easily have been us. Kids are kids, and we were lucky not to live in such a digital age to have it documented. Ugh.